The Star-News


Bonita woman can stay home for now

Sat, Sep 18 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampite

On Tuesday morning before the sun came up, dozens of neighbors, residents and friends stood on Luz Maria Villanueva's front lawn. They were joined by Congressman Bob Filner.

The pre-dawn gathering was a demonstration against the Bonita woman's expected eviction by sheriff's deputies.

"We're all in this together," Filner said. "If you want to go to jail with me, we're going to stand at the front door."

Villanueva, like thousands of other homeowners across the county, had fallen behind on her $2,600-plus mortgage payments.

"My income reduced immensely because of my divorce," she said.

In 1993 she and her then-husband, Miguel Gonzalez, bought the residential property on Butternut Hollow Lane and then five years later bought a commercial property on Heritage Road in San Diego.

By 2007, after the couple had started an acrimonious divorce, Villanueva ran into financial trouble and was forced to take out a $539,000 loan against her home.

Villanueva is currently unemployed but has her doctorate in psychology.

One of her three children, Christian Gonzalez, 25, is legally blind and recently found out he has a rare kidney disease that requires chemotherapy.

Court records show Villanueva was at one time hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt because of legal proceedings. Her son's medical care, however, is covered by insurance.

Villanueva contacted Filner's office for help months ago because she was trying to get a loan modification.

She said the lender was unwilling to work with her.

After not getting anywhere with bank representatives, Filner organized the Tuesday morning demonstration.

Kim Quaco, assistant Sheriff for the San Diego Sheriff's Department, said his department was notified Monday afternoon by the debtor that they were canceling the eviction.


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